NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As nasal and throat symptoms become more common in COVID-19 patients, the differences between the virus and allergies can be blurry.
“Sore throat, chills, body aches — those are gonna be the big things you look for with something that’s viral,” said Lauren Webb, a nurse practitioner in allergy and immunology at W Barney Smith MD in Nashville. “People get confused all the time and think, ‘oh, my allergies are bad and now I have a fever,’ well if you have a fever it’s a viral illness of some sort.”
Fever is one big sign it’s more than allergies, followed by the type of cough and congestion, and fatigue.
“There are a couple overlap symptoms: now cough with allergies often going to be drainage, and some sort of wet related, the cough with coronavirus is a really dry cough. So, that would be a little of a difference,” added Megan Stauffer, an M.D. allergist with the Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center in Nashville. “People with coronavirus are gonna have that really intense fatigue. You don’t get a fever and you don’t get intense fatigue with allergies.”
Something to ask yourself: Is this a throat “itch” or is it a soreness that’s only getting worse?
“If allergy people will talk about more of a scratchiness that they’ll have in their throat, and it tends to come and go a little bit more. With something viral, it tends to be more persistent,” Webb explained.
“Now people with allergies can have a loss in taste and sense in smell, but they’re also stuffy, their nose is congested and they’re real mucusy,” Stauffer said, “With coronavirus, you lose that taste and smell but there’s none of that other nasal congestion.”
Allergists say, right now, Tennessee is experiencing high amounts of grass pollen, causing breathing problems and headaches. They expect another spike in allergies again in the fall.
A good rule of thumb is if your symptoms persist or worsen and are not relieved by antihistamines, that’s probably a sign you should get tested for COVID-19.
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